Self-powered camera is not ready for real world action, clicks
This is unlike anything that we had thus far. It is a great video camera and will be loved by many people. It will particularly impress those who donâ€™t want to change their batteries frequently.
No, it doesnâ€™t come with long lasting battery that will last two days or three days. It doesnâ€™t need any battery at all. The video camera is the first of its kind in the world that runs without a battery.
Researchers behind the camera are excited with the development and claim that it can produce an image each second.
They claim that in order to develop the prototype camera they came out with a pixel that can not only measure incident light but also convert the incident light into electric power. “We are in the middle of a digital imaging revolution,” said Shree K Nayar, TC Chang Professor of Computer Science at the Columbia University, who led the study. The world’s first video camera that runs without battery Indian-origin scientist has developed a camera that runs without a battery and can produce an image each second.
While further detailing the innovation involving in the camera he noted that in the last year alone, approximately two billion cameras of various types were sold worldwide. “I think we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. Digital imaging is expected to enable many emerging fields including wearable devices, sensor networks, smart environments, personalised medicine, and the Internet of Things. “A camera that can function as an untethered device forever – without any external power supply – would be incredibly useful,” said Nayar.
The work was not easy. Nayar realised that although digital cameras and solar panels have different purposes – one measures light while the other converts light to power – both are constructed from essentially the same components. At the heart of any digital camera is an image sensor, a chip with millions of pixels. The key enabling device in a pixel is the photodiode, which produces an electric current when exposed to light. This mechanism enables each pixel to measure the intensity of light falling on it. Nayar and colleagues used off-the-shelf components to fabricate an image sensor with 30×40 pixels.
As far as the designing of the camera is concerned, in his prototype camera, which is housed in a 3D printed body, each pixel’s photodiode is always operated in the photovoltaic mode. The pixel design is very simple, and uses just two transistors. During each image capture cycle, the pixels are used first to record and read out the image and then to harvest energy and charge the sensor’s power supply – the image sensor continuously toggles between image capture and power harvesting modes. When the camera is not used to capture images, it can be used to generate power for other devices, such as a phone or a watch. Nayar notes that the image sensor could use a rechargeable battery and charge it via its harvesting capability.